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Home Reno: Built-Ins You Don't Actually Need

A major part of any home renovation project is usually the built-in carpentry. Despite their hefty price tag, homeowners tend to be willing to splurge five-figure sums on custom built-ins as they can be tailored to suit their needs and home interior goals. And for smaller apartments, clever carpentry design can help maximise every precious inch of space too.

With that said, does everything need to be customised? Probably not, especially when you can have fun mixing and matching things with loose furniture. When planning for carpentry, it’s ideal to think ahead and anticipate how your needs may evolve in time to come. After all, you’re investing in permanent fixtures, and it will cost a tidy sum to remove them if you change your mind in future.

For example, are there plans to try for children in the near future, or do you foresee yourself getting bored of the layout and wanting to switch things up from time to time? In that case, you may wish to keep built-ins to a minimum, and shop for quality freestanding furniture to complement your carpentry instead. That way, it’ll be a lot easier to refresh your space.

With all that said, do you belong to Team Customised or Team Freedom? Well, there’s definitely no need to play sides when you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Here, we share a list of built-ins you can consider doing without if you’d like to trim excess fat from your renovation plans.

1. Dining area

Whilst a built-in dining area can definitely look aesthetic, it’s definitely not necessary to commission a custom set of tables and seats for the wow factor. And if you love entertaining and having lots of guests over, the fixed position of your dining set may feel restrictive instead.

2. TV console

A distinctive feature of most living rooms, the TV console is often customised; having a built-in console as part of a feature wall can work wonders in streamlining the interior design of your abode. However, there are ready-made designs that will work just as well as a visual anchor, so it isn’t a must to get yours custom-made.

3. Work desk

Whilst current WFH or hybrid work/study arrangements have made it important to have a decent workspace at home, there’s no need to rush to build one. In fact, a freestanding table (especially one with adjustable height) and accompanying accessories may work better - you’ll be able to move things around easily should circumstances or job requirements change.

4. Bed and side tables

To maximise your wardrobe space, having it tailor-made to suit your needs is always a good idea. However, you don’t have to do the same for your bed and side tables. By opting for store-bought ones, you won’t be restricted by fixtures should you wish to, say, change your bed from a queen to a king-sized one in future.

5. Custom cabinets for appliances

To be fair, tailored storage for specific appliances can be really convenient, and there’s just something satisfying about having your refrigerator, microwave or coffee machine fit perfectly into its intended slot. However, this also means that you’ll have to think twice about replacing your appliances when they are past their prime - your next purchase may not fit the cabinets as well.

6. Kitchen island

If you have the space for one, a kitchen island can be incredibly useful and serve several purposes - meal prep, storage or even as a temporary work station. To make the workhorse even more versatile, avoid built-in versions. Instead, get a mobile one with wheels underneath - you’ll be able to push it out to the living room if need be, or keep it to one side should you need additional space for the day.

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